Wine Reviews

Saint Nick, Nick Goldschmidt

Meridith May

Photo: Nick Goldschmidt

 “I work for my wife,” says Nick Goldschmidt, one of the most talented winemakers I’ve ever met, his dry humor matching the profile of his melodic wines. The former Simi winemaker and former Executive VP of Winemaking at Allied Domecq under the leadership of Bill Newlands now oversees the process for the folks at Beam Wine Estates – again under the leadership of Newlands.

Indeed, Goldschmidt, a native of New Zealand, does work for and with his wife Yolyn. Since 1998, the two founded Goldschmidt Vineyards, a company that, apart from the Beam Estates labels – is their very own pride and joy.

Two distinct brands – Goldschmidt Vineyards and Forefathers – encapsulate the Goldschmidt theme of vine specific winemaking domestically and globally.

“It’s easy to sell a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or an Australian Shiraz,” he points out. “You can usually get in the door with these varietals. Then you offer the Chard, Pinot, or Cab and you get a swift ‘no thanks, that’s not what Australia is known for.’ Goldschmidt takes it a step farther with Forefathers, by offering 100% single vineyard and 100% single varietal from the best terroirs for the specific fruit.

For the Forefathers Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Goldschmidt chose Marlborough and within that region a single vineyard on the Hawkesbury River, with gravely loams formed from glacial flow where the rocks are sharp and jagged. Its style is a juicy expression of passion fruit and grapefruit. “I’m not a full-on acid freak,” Goldschmidt quips, “and the U.S. prefers the grapefruit style.” (SRP $17, 8000 cases)

When it comes to the iconic Australian Shiraz, Goldschmidt chose McLaren Vale over the Barossa. “Barossa is a true valley with warm days and warm nights, but in McLaren Vale you can see the ocean, experience the cooler nights and ultimately get more hang time.”

 Forefathers McLaren Vale “Copper Mine Road” 2004 Shiraz is a haven for exotic spices and pepper, intensely rich plums and a softness that exudes from vanilla notes that integrates from first taste to its charming finish. (SRP $25, 3600 cases)

With a deep bond and understanding of the soils of the Alexander Valley, Goldschmidt earmarked Forefathers Cabernet Sauvignon for this growing region, known for lush, opulent reds. “One problem with the Alexander Valley,” he admits, “is that everyone wants to plant with an east facing, but it’s usually too steep to be able to accomplish that. Most vineyards face west. We wanted a Cab with power, something this region doesn’t often deliver, but we were able to access land on a knoll in Geyserville on an eastern slope – we were fortunate.”

This Cab delivers power and richness, its tannins supple. “Instead of waiting for flavor, the fruit ripened faster – and the wine offers an explosion of fruit.” (SRP $40, 1720 cases)

IMAGE: Forefathers McLarenvale Shiraz


The Goldschmidt Label

From an old-terraced north facing vineyard in Alexander Valley, Goldschmidt’s small production Cabernet Sauvignon is one of those rare “rich monsters” that can hail from this striking Sonoma appellation.

But wait – there’s another. “We’re like a small Silver Oak,” jests Goldschmidt, referring to the other twin, a Goldschmidt Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. From “undulating west facing slopes” in the high rent district of Oakville (next to Screaming Eagle no less) comes this elegant beauty. “The difference is,” he continues, “these are single vineyard wines and they’re half the price!” (Both SRP $65, 854 cases total)

Distributed by American Wines



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